By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks posted their largest drop in a month on Wednesday as traders locked in recent gains after a provisional budget deal out of Washington removed one of the near-term reasons for the Fed to keep up its current pace of economic stimulus. Last September, the Fed cited the possibility of a hit to the economy if lawmakers didn't agree on a budget as one reason to maintain its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program. The bipartisan budget agreement reached late Tuesday would end three years of political confrontations and fiscal instability in Washington that climaxed in October with a partial government shutdown. A vote in the U.S. House of Representatives could come as soon as Thursday.
By Jonathan Leff and Michael Erman NEW YORK (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley has launched a formal effort to sell its controlling stake in U.S. oil terminal and transport business TransMontaigne, four sources said on Wednesday, following other Wall Street powerhouses in yielding to intense regulatory pressure to get out of commodity investments. The bank has started circulating preliminary information about the assets it could sell, which include the general partner of master limited partnership (MLP) TransMontaigne Partners LP , the sources said. The sale process appears to be Morgan Stanley's first definitive step toward disassembling its vast energy trading group, after a more than year-long informal effort failed to find a buyer or partner for the whole operation. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have argued, seemingly in vain, that a 1999 legal exemption allows them to continue owning oil tankers and pipelines.
Hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Inc raised $2.34 billion in its IPO on Wednesday, returning to the public markets some six years after Blackstone Group LP took it private in one of the largest deals of the leveraged buyout boom. Hilton, whose brands include such high-end names as Conrad and Waldorf Astoria, priced its shares at $20, within the expected range, and gave the world's largest hotel operator an equity value of $19.7 billion. The stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the ticker symbol "HLT." Blackstone took Hilton private in 2007 for $26.7 billion, including debt, at the height of the market. Blackstone refinanced about $13 billion of the hotel chain's debt before launching the IPO.